Just in time for Halloween, many people are search out the creepy and macabre. Fright fests and haunted houses – all for the quick thrill of an elevated heart rate while you try to catch your breath.
Forget the zombies, ghouls, goblins and ghosts; never mind the dilapidated abandoned asylum. Looking to traumatize your tiny people? Bring them on down to the recently renovated hospital on pediatric flu shot clinic day.
I took the boys to get their flu shots. I made the mistake of warning them where we were going.
“Nooooo,” Search wailed as he melted into the ground. “I don’t want a shot! That will hurt!”
He wasn’t wrong.
We trooped on down to hospital. The whining intensified the moment we pulled into the parking lot. I guess months of NICU pricks, followed by years of RSV shots and vaccinations leave a lasting impression on the malleable minds of growing boys.
Dragging/carrying/cajoling/guiding Search and Destroy, we followed the flu shot signs in order to make our grand entrance into the pediatric clinic. Everyone saw us coming; we can part crowds. Large giant signs bearing behemoth arrows directed us toward the danger zone.
At this point, Search decided he could no longer walk under his own power. Destroy abandoned his usual reckless abandon charge and began throwing serious side eye that could not have more clearly stated, “I don’t think there’s a prize worth this…”
The security guard ushered our terrible trio into the left hand lane. We waited patiently in line. Both boys grew increasingly skeptical when they realized I wasn’t sternly chastising them for hanging on the chain line delineators.
A nurse handed me two laminated sheets. A choice! The nasal mist or injection. Maybe they wouldn’t have to get poked after all.
“Next!” We were ushered toward the injection room – one we were all too familiar with from RSV shots of years gone by.
Search and Destroy ran in the opposite direction. Ultimately a nurse poked her head out to ask if anyone was coming. She may not have seen anyone in her chair of torture, but she certainly heard us.
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!” the boys howled in a harmonic preschool Doppler effect.
There we learned that anyone diagnosed with asthma or wheezing within the past 12 months was ineligible for the nose squirt. I gave the nurse our backstory, all the while making sure she was aware we hadn’t had a lung issue this year.
Apparently preemies are grandfathered in to that wheezing category. Damn chronic lung disease.
“Everyone’s getting stabbed,” the nurse declared. “Mom, you’re first.”
I sat in The Chair, with Destroy on my lap. SONOFABITCH THAT HURT.
He saw what was coming. The nurse alcohol-ed his little arm. She had finished the injection by the time he realized what was going on and inflated his lungs to their full capacity for a banshee wail of pain.
With Destroy still sobbing, I pulled Search up onto my lap. Search was having none of it. “Nononononononononononononononononono…” he recited.
Just before the pain of the shot radiated through my little man, Destroy bum rushed the chair.
“SHE’S PUTTING A HOLE IN MY BROTHER!” he shrieked, understandably freaked out.
(Glad we averted those lung issues by going with the shot vs. snorting the stuff. Apparently it’s not because of after-effects, it’s for lung exercise.)
We exited the injection room.
Directly in front of us was a line of future injectees standing stock-still. Several children seemed frozen with fear – too scared to even turn tail and flee.
The security guard turned to a grown man. “This is the pediatric clinic. Continue down that hallway there for adults.”
Mouth agape, he replied, “I don’t think I want to go in there anyway…”
“Do we get a prize?” sniffed the muppets. “I think we need one.”
They didn’t seem to appreciate my nomination for Best Actor.
PS. My arm still hurts.